An unavoidable thrill ride, this book is. From beginning to end, I was in constant motion with these characters and trying to keep up with all of the revelations and emotional u-turns that left me WRUNG. OUT. I guffawed and clenched my jaw and clamped my hand over my mouth. C’mon and see why…
by SE Jakes
Published by Riptide Publishing
Five out of Five Scotch on the Rocks
From the Publisher:
Two seasoned operatives finally meet their match: each other.
Cillian works for the mysterious Special Branch 20: an organization that runs black ops commissioned by the British government. His specialty is deep undercover assignments with virtually no support. He’s been alone for so long that he no longer knows anything else.
Mal’s also used to being alone. Wanted in several states and even more countries, he’s not allowed in the vicinity of any of his former Navy SEAL teammates. And his current assignment is to track Cillian in order to discover the spook’s endgame. Except he’s no longer sure which one of them is getting played.
Cillian isn’t about to let the mission that’s consumed him for the past several years crumble because an outsider is poking around where he doesn’t belong. But Mal forces his way through Cillian’s defenses—and into his heart—exposing a devastating betrayal that could destroy them both.
A Collision of Motivations and Needs…
From the opening, I got what I came for: Cillian’s attitude, impatience, his demanding ways and much, much more. My choice? Hell, there was no choice. My eyes and heart and gut were dragged along a path so twisted and delicious. I didn’t bother to hang on for this ride, I threw my hands up in the air and screamed the entire way. Quietly. Gasping. Giggling. Who was that masked man?
You know the man who was next to arrive on the scene: Mal, and he’s not alone. Mmmm hmmmm. Mal, a man of few words and much action – though this description may already be out of date. His chaotic brand of control has been compromised. Mmmm hmmmm. He may literally be the poster boy for strength and vulnerability, though this description is also woefully inadequate.
And then? We get to the crux of it all. I’m not sure I saw that coming, at least not with that level of vehemence. We definitely have not been told the whole story behind this SEAL team that consists of Mal, Proph, King, Ren and Hook… and one that is no longer.
We know why Mal has it in for Cillian, and why he seems to be especially connected and even protective of Proph. No wonder there’s no holding back in Mal’s way of thinking. Course, we know things would have to get complicated and they do. Already are. Have been.
Never fear, humor and cleverness break the tension and it feeeeels liiiiike hoooome. There are deliciously quotable lines.
A revelation: a common goal. More than a goal, a deep-seeded drive to protect. Who? And why? Well done, this sector of the giant web that is this spook-filled universe.
*stage whispers* Before I forget (as if), the sexual tension? Yeah, ready for a knife, it is. The sex? Yeah, get some towels.
Mal and Cill, I’m not sure anyone else could handle them as well as they (think) they handle each other. Oh my gosh, I can’t wait for you all to feel their quiet power. They are the same, but for different reasons and having traveled quite disparate paths to get here. This could either mean a bond as strong as steel or a very lonely future, apart.
As usual, Jakes’ writing slugs me right in the heart, emotions and surprises ping-pong in all directions, sometimes in a single sentence. I went from ‘what the fuck?!’ to ‘oh… wow’ within seconds of each other more than once. Mal is a large part of that. I haven’t encountered a character quite like him and that gets me fucking excited. For me, if there has to be one, he’s the heart of this story. This was wonderfully unforeseen. He’ll do whatever it takes, whatever it is.
To say Mal and Cillian face obstacles is a laughable understatement. I want them to be able to talk. I want them to understand. I want them to never give up on each other.
What we have here is a story with major revelations, which then spawn a multitude of questions. How will Mal and Cill work everything out? Who will end up having to do the dirty work, especially since it may be accomplished with great relish? Who will survive?
What we have here are two men, complex alphas, who surprise themselves as much as they do us. Who will feel the greater need to relent? Who will be the one holding the power? And for how long?
What we have here is a vast web of connections that will make your head spin and need to find out more. Who will be the first to share the secret? Who will reveal their own secrets? Who will be there to listen?
Bottom line, for me: we all have those artists, whether an author or painter or sculptor, that feels like they’ve discovered some portal right into that raw place inside that permits that art to beam on in and take up residence with no reservations and revel in it – this author is one of those for me. I may not be able to exactly pinpoint what the “it” is that makes this the case, but I know “it” is there with this author for me.
This story can be read as a stand-alone but let me give you fair warning: one of the major catalysts for much of the conflict does initiate in the first two books of the Hell or High Water series, even if in glimpses. Some of the history and characters that hold this impact is provided in this read, however, you will probably feel things more intensely if you first read Catch a Ghost and then Long Time Gone .G’head, don’t deprive yourself. I dare you. 😉
I would like to thank SE Jakes and Riptide for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I will also own my own copy as I have it pre-ordered from Riptide.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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